Thursday, June 23, 2011

What the Canada Post Strike Taught Me

Canada Post went on strike and have been on strike for a few weeks now. It taught me the importance of having an affordable back up method of shipping. I ended up using FedEx and I am really happy that I did. Shipping in and from Canada is very pricey. So I noticed the most cost effective method of shipping internationally is Canada Post small packet...but you don't get a tracking number or anything for it, which would be helpful. But it does come with $100.00 insurance...Prices can start around $7.00 to ...well over $40.00.

With FedEx Ground I've only used it to ship to the US so far. But on average it's $15.00, they go by weight and toppers don't weight too much. There is a tracking number, $100.00 insurance and takes about 6 business days. From now on for the US I will be using them, they are the most reliable and efficient in that manner.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Newspaper Article About My Toppers!

I was featured in the StarPhoenix in Saskatoon on May 25, 2011!

For Holly Edwards, helping couples customize their wedding day is her dream come true.

It's a classic two-birds, one-stone situation for the local artist and her growing list of clients. Through her aptly named home business My Custom Cake Topper, 27-year-old Edwards happily stretches her artistic muscle to create unique wedding cake toppers for brides and grooms wanting to add something personalized to their special day.

"It's gone far better than I ever would have anticipated," Edwards said of her business, which she launched in March. "I feel like my dreams are actually coming true. I can actually make this my living and be happy in what I'm doing." It takes between two and 50 hours for the University of Saskatchewan grad to make a cake topper. Her portfolio includes pairs of birds, hedgehogs, owls, turtles and even a Mr. and Mrs. Gainer the Gopher.

She makes models of people too, of course, with her most elaborate custom topper including a bride and groom, their pets and personal interests.

"Every piece has it's own little challenge to it," Edwards said.

"I absolutely love doing the personal pet ones, those are fantastic."

While the local market is her target, the artist has shipped her work across the country, into the United States and as far away as Australia thanks to her shop on the popular as well as her own site at Mycustomcaketopper. com. She sells her handmade "mice in tartans" toppers here in Saskatoon at Clans, Celts and Clover on Broadway Avenue and hopes to create more partnerships with local businesses.

The wedding industry is highly competitive, but the lucrative sector also holds great opportunity for people who take on the challenge, said Laura Small, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.

Small said the strength of the local economy has encouraged many women to start their own businesses in the service industry - which includes weddings and other special events.

"We're seeing a lot of women in a lot of industries right now. It's very busy," the CEO said in a recent interview. "A lot of the businesses we are seeing (start) in 2011 have been in the service industry. So there's obviously a lot of opportunity and a lot of change happening out there in those types of businesses."

Small suggests Edwards build relationships in the Saskatoon and region wedding sector, learn about the nature of the market and promote the uniqueness of her product.

"She could develop a partnership or a relationship with the other people in the industry to bring more awareness and more business to her," Small said.

Priced between $25 and $500, most of the orders Edwards receives for her cake toppers are in the $50 to $80 range. Although a number of orders are coming in for the summer wedding season, she'd like to see her business grow to sell about 20 pieces per month.

Edwards says she'll keep pushing through any challenges that come her way, both to expand her own business and to provide couples with a lifelong keepsake for their special day.

"I'm not going to quit. I want to keep going with this," Edwards said. "I look forward to helping brides achieve their dreams."